Unfunded pension plans may be bankrupting businesses and local municipalities across the country, but you’d never know it listening to Rev. Jesse Jackson talk. In fact, Jackson has an economic plan to turn the IOUs in pension funds into loans for unqualified borrowers.

Jesse Jackson has an idea for economic growth    What could go wrong?

What could go wrong??!

At a three-day conference in New York that began on Wednesday, Mr. Jackson discussed a proposal for increasing the availability of capital by using pension money to make loans in low-income communities. The idea is getting a prominent debut at the 16th annualWall Street Project Economic Summit, hosted by Mr. Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the Citizenship Education Fund.

“We’ve got to think outside the present fiscal-cliff-debt-ceiling box,” Mr. Jackson said in an interview on Wednesday. “We must have some plan for reconstruction.”

The conference features some big names, with a keynote speech from former President Bill Clinton. The comptroller of New York, John C. Liu, who oversees the city’s pension funds, is speaking on Thursday.

Mr. Jackson, who regularly speaks out about banks’ abuses in minority communities, envisions the creation of a lender similar to development banks in other countries. With political gridlock in Washington, and with banks limiting access to capital, a separate solution is needed, Mr. Jackson said, comparing the idea to the Marshall Plan.

Using pension money would simultaneously achieve another of Mr. Jackson’s goals: encouraging pensions to focus on socially responsible investments.

Yeah, because rooting fiscal policy in so-called “social justice” is always a good idea.  Just ask Detroit.

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